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Pegg

Possible goodbye to lootboxes?

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Read the Ars Techinca article on this and the whole thing focuses on age groups under 18, which is far from a majority of the gaming community, and quite frankly, something parents need to lock on down as opposed to the government (or they need to follow Belgium and define it as gambling). The language also feels far too broad to gain any real traction in its current state. Also describing it as "monetizing an addiction" is a ridiculous notion.

 

I get that microtransactions and lootbox designs in general suck big floppy donkey dick, but the idea that gamers don't enable this shit by constantly buying into it is kind of laughable to me.  If you don't like the practices, don't support the product. I know it's challenging because something you get excited about is suddenly saddled with bullshit, but if gamers want to see any real, significant change, maybe they should bite the bullet and pass on the latest hot-shit title instead of expressing outrage, kinda-sorta settling/caving, and then forgetting the whole ordeal when the next new hotness comes about.

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A thought came to mind about lootboxes I would like to share.

 

I reckon if a game company wants to avoid much hate for including it in they could conduct the following;

1. Only 1 loot box can be purchased per month (but a $5 to $50 option is available) the buyer chooses one option.

2. Allow for password protection to lock the option to see the store. Parents or loved ones etc can lock it for security.

 

This will prevent Whales going overboard and companies can have their monies with less backlash. Not as much as the current full exploit microtransactions / lootboxes with grindy games designed for it but f#*k them anyway.

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Microtransactions and anything like it needs to just stop. Go back to original formula: make game, sell game. Make DLC only if the game does well. Pre-planned DLC and locking shit on disc needs to stop as well.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Nevander said:

Microtransactions and anything like it needs to just stop. Go back to original formula: make game, sell game. Make DLC only if the game does well. Pre-planned DLC and locking shit on disc needs to stop as well.

 

This.

 

It's about fucking time MTX of all kinds and DLC which is not actually DLC (exists in the game but is locked behind a pay wall, or it's actually cut content from development, thus selling you an incomplete base game) disappear in the blackest hole of nonexistence.

 

Good riddance, they won't be missed. But I do wish people would just have the power to vote with their damned wallets and not have the government put a ban on these practices, it's the only way to make greedy devs/publishers listen anymore. But people are awful at boycotting, some complain but buy their games or even spend money on that BS anyway, their fault that the industry is where it is today.

Edited by seed

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2 hours ago, Nevander said:

Microtransactions and anything like it needs to just stop. Go back to original formula: make game, sell game. Make DLC only if the game does well. Pre-planned DLC and locking shit on disc needs to stop as well.

 

I fully agree, but it won't happen if the budgets for games are ever rising. Somehow that money has to be earned...

The only way to stop this is really only making it illegal.

 

43 minutes ago, seed said:

Good riddance, they won't be missed. But I do wish people would just have the power to vote with their damned wallets and not have the government put a ban on these practices, it's the only way to make greedy devs/publishers listen anymore. But people are awful of boycotting, some complain but buy their games or even spent money on that BS anyway, their fault that the industry is where it is today.

 

Indeed. The ultimate problem are the customers who are spending money on this bullshit. If a product doesn't sell, it won't be made, but it's clear that the scheme is working. On the positive side, the market is not infinite. At some point even the most engaged gamer has to stop because they run out of money. So, the more games feature such abusive revenue models, the higher the likelihood that some of them will crash and burn - and hopefully take the publishers down with them.

 

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16 minutes ago, DooM_RO said:

I've never bought a lootbox and I will never understand the people who do. 

 

Count me too. I have never spent a single penny on that, or any kind of MTX.

 

However, I have friends who do, or did (haven't talked to them about this particular matter in quite a while), spend money on MTX. They were never able to give me a good reason for why they do this, but don't really care either, for them spending over 20$ on cosmetics is worth it...

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Just now, seed said:

 

Count me too. I have never spent a single penny on that, or any kind of MTX.

 

However, I have friends who do, or did (haven't talked to them about this particular matter in quite a while), spend money on MTX. They were never able to give me a good reason for why they do this, but don't really care either, for them spending over 20$ on cosmetics is worth it...

 

20$ on cosmetics?? That's fucking nuts. That's a a third of a full-priced game. So for a little work that a single artist can do the company gets a third of a premium priced game...what a shitshow. 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, DooM_RO said:

20$ on cosmetics?? That's fucking nuts. That's a a third of a full-priced game. So for a little work that a single artist can do the company gets a third of a premium priced game...what a shitshow. 

 

Yeah basically, but try browsing CS:GO's market for instance, there's skins that easily go into the hundreds... and when you think there's people who actually spend money on them... I would never do this even if I was rich.

 

They could do something else with that money, maybe even deposit it or I dunno, but then again, that's their problem, not ours. If their ignorance of monetary value is so easily exploited, then let them be exploited.

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2 minutes ago, seed said:

 

Yeah basically, but try browsing CS:GO's market for instance, there's skins that easily go into the hundreds... and when you think there's people who actually spend money on them... I would never do this even if I was rich.

 

They could do something else with that money, maybe even deposit it or I dunno, but then again, that's their problem, not ours. If their ignorance of monetary value is so easily exploited, then let them be exploited.

 

Not true, it IS our problem because they are feeding the monster which in turn affects the quality of our games.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, DooM_RO said:

Not true, it IS our problem because they are feeding the monster which in turn affects the quality of our games.

 

Precisely.

 

The impact of these practices is noticeable and on a much bigger scale, but what I was trying to say there was just that

 

6 minutes ago, seed said:

If their ignorance of monetary value is so easily exploited, then let them be exploited.

 

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I don't buy the "it's their fault if they don't know the value of money" narrative. Predatory practices work because they skew one's perception of value to begin with. I don't care how rational and über immune to this you think you are. This is a multifaceted problem and I don't know if there's a satisfying solution to this, unless we have enough research to assert how we mess with someone's brain using these practices.

Meanwhile categorizing such games as gambling, like Belgium did, is probably a good step.

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Posted (edited)

agreed
caveat emptor thinking doesn't work here (or anywhere else), you can see the existing exploitation

 

also it'd be fun if this law had a knock-on effect into areas that are even more suspiciously gambling-adjacent ie. magic: the gathering sealed and draft events

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14 minutes ago, seed said:

 If their ignorance of monetary value is so easily exploited, then let them be exploited.

 

I think that statement applies to many things, not just games.

Just go into a supermarket and see the different price ranges for very similar products. Sometimes the only difference is a known brand name vs. some no-name product, but the branded version costs twice as much, if not more. And people still buy this stuff because they believe it's better.

 

In the end it's all a failure of the education system because it never, ever teaches the value of money properly, and many parents can't do that either.

 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

Sometimes the only difference is a known brand name vs. some no-name product, but the branded version costs twice as much, if not more. And people still buy this stuff because they believe it's better.

 

The irony here is that this rationale kinda works, usually. Chances are that a product with the name of a more respectable and "popular" brand slapped on it, with a history of releasing quality products, is in fact the better option. Of course, that isn't always the case.

 

14 minutes ago, Kira said:

Predatory practices work because they skew one's perception of value to begin with.

 

That is correct, so the root of the problem might be elsewhere, but, I'm not very sure.

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6 minutes ago, seed said:

That is correct, so the root of the problem might be elsewhere, but, I'm not very sure.

I'm not sure either. A start would be to read up on the effects of gambling, why gambling works and see how much of it relates to the practices at hand here (my hunch is "a lot"). But better yet would be comprehensive studies using these games directly.

 

The problem is that I'm always left unsatisfied with research pertaining to video games because they tend to narrow the games too much. Like that one research surmising that FPS weren't triggering neurogenesis the same way as 3D platforming games do, because you memorize directions after a while. Except the game they used was Call of Duty, which is very different to how one navigates in say, Quake 3.

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Going forward, I would expect the Sims model of DLC packs and things in that vein. Downloadable content isn't going away though, not while development costs continue to rise (a problem that the gaming community cannot address in the form of an alternative to lootboxes and DLC). 

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Posted (edited)

The gaming industry might cut down the costs at some point, if we ever achieve a good cross section between Generative Adversarial Networks and Procedural Generation workflows for example. Kind of how we deal with textures nowadays but more involved. Motion capture can be lowered too as a byproduct of VR controllers getting better. Ditto for sound design, etc...

But maybe it's just going to move the goal posts and everything will be the same anyway, just ridiculously bigger. Unless virtual worlds become a commodity, and at this point the gaming industry doesn't even exist in its current form and it's just like Doom with PWADs but for everything (no no, absolutely not my wishful thinking).

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I'm happy this is happening. Thanks Valve! Oh but it's okay since they have keys that cost money and the loot boxes are free?

 

Big Fish Games lost a Washington state lawsuit recently about its gamblers and minors so a casino was smart enough to get a lawsuit going against Valve.

 

Even with it happening, kids will still spend tens of thousands of dollars on micro transactions. There have been several lawsuits about that too and parents are getting smart enough to sue the retailers rather than the companies.

 

Back in my TF2 days I knew people that would exploit the loot crate system, buy hundreds of dollars in TF2 keys, open them hoping for something worth the money invested. If they failed, they'd call their credit card company and report the card stolen or compromised. Most of them were trade banned, but only years after they were doing it. Other times, these same people would buy physical TF2 and DOTA2 merchandise for the item keys inside and then just return the physical items. Retailers didn't know about the keys or didn't care.

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4 hours ago, seed said:

Yeah basically, but try browsing CS:GO's market for instance, there's skins that easily go into the hundreds... and when you think there's people who actually spend money on them... I would never do this even if I was rich.

 

FUUUU****K

 

Even if I was the world's richest man, I wouldn't spend that much money on a skin. No wonder why microtransactions are in 90% of AAA games nowadays.

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I don’t think any game I’ve ever purchased has loot boxes or anything similar. People end up gambling so much money on these things in small doses and the small doses add up fast - the whole thing just preys on the weakest aspects of human psychology, it’s so vile and twisted at it’s core, at least to me. I’m glad to be almost entirely disconnected from modern gaming when I’m reminded of how awful it is. They just want to brainwash you and absorb all your money, it’s not about anything else anymore.

 

*adjusts tinfoil hat*

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One of the perks of being a 30 Year Old Boomer is that you are immune to lootboxes.

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5 hours ago, Mr. Freeze said:

Going forward, I would expect the Sims model of DLC packs and things in that vein. Downloadable content isn't going away though, not while development costs continue to rise (a problem that the gaming community cannot address in the form of an alternative to lootboxes and DLC). 

 

The problem is that DLC is also economically inefficient because not everyone is buying it. Sure, many do, but if it doesn't add much to the game some don't bother with it. It's usually better to wait for a Deluxe edition to have everything as well, unless the game simply isn't getting one.

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Lootboxes have been illegal in Belgium for a while at this point.

 

In any case, I'm glad the US is following suit.

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A possible removal of gamble wall sounds nice but where do you think the publishers will get that extra $ from next? Think they'll charge the players from multiplayer levels and fill the game with ads.

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1 minute ago, Ichor said:

First time I saw lootboxes was in TF2. A crate dropped, and you had to buy a key to open it. A different kind of crate dropped, and you had to buy a different key to open it, and the first key wouldn't work. I knew even back then that there was trouble brewing...well, I didn't really suspect any problems until they started with unusual hats.

Years before that, there were reports of Chinese websites making a lot of cash by having games that were just the crates and nothing else. Exact same mechanism. That was when F2P games were starting out without all of this (back when they just had the trick of slowing down your progress until you felt you had to pay to keep up), and it was very worrying to imagine the merging of both models. I didn't want to believe the industry would go that low back then, but there were people seeing it all coming.

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22 minutes ago, Kira said:

Years before that, there were reports of Chinese websites making a lot of cash by having games that were just the crates and nothing else. Exact same mechanism. That was when F2P games were starting out without all of this (back when they just had the trick of slowing down your progress until you felt you had to pay to keep up), and it was very worrying to imagine the merging of both models. I didn't want to believe the industry would go that low back then, but there were people seeing it all coming.

TF2 felt it got around the gambling issue as the crates with the items are free, but you buy the keys. What you choose to do with them is your own business. Keys turned into a micro economy like anything with paid value that you can only get by paying real world currency. To get into China and avoid its anti gambling policies, it had to specify the percentages of what was in the crate... but even if they specify, we're trusting their server that it is what it is.

 

I remember in my college years, I exploited an online poker website where it glitched and turned everything I had into a royal flush. We trust these things to be fair, and while poker websites aren't the TF2 crate system, we're still trusting they're fair. Even if there is regulation we're also trusting that they won't flip a switch the second the inspector walks out.

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